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Locking steering column questions
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Digger89L
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PostPosted: Sun Aug 11, 2019 9:00 am    Post subject: Locking steering column questions Reply with quote

Looking thru the archived owner's manuals here on the forum, it appears that locking steering columns were available starting in about the 1964 model year. Were they a 'special order' item? Reason I ask is that I've been around VW bugs for a LONG time (and have owned 8 or 10 over the past 50 years) ..but I have never come across a pre-1968 Beetle with a locking-steering-column-ignition switch. What's that all about??
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PostPosted: Sun Aug 11, 2019 11:49 am    Post subject: Re: Locking steering column questions Reply with quote

It was an option. From what I have gathered more of a non-us spec type thing. I am sure someone with more official answer will come along. My tourist visa 67 has it.
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PostPosted: Sun Aug 11, 2019 11:55 am    Post subject: Re: Locking steering column questions Reply with quote

From what I've seen (non-scientific), they were common on European cars but rare for US-spec cars.

They were available as an option, if you ordered a car. But in the '60s, demand was so high you bought off the lot whatever they had, and almost none of them had the steering lock.


Last edited by KTPhil on Sun Aug 11, 2019 7:20 pm; edited 1 time in total
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Digger89L
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PostPosted: Sun Aug 11, 2019 2:26 pm    Post subject: Re: Locking steering column questions Reply with quote

I've looked thru the 64 to 67 literature and price lists ...no mention of it being standard equipment, or available as an option. Weird.
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PostPosted: Sun Aug 11, 2019 3:14 pm    Post subject: Re: Locking steering column questions Reply with quote

Pretty sure it was a dealer installed option like gas heaters here in N. America. You can see the 1954 installation bulletin in the "Technical Bulletins" thru the "Technical" button above.

Only other way would have been a Tourist Delivery VW or grey market VW.
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PostPosted: Sun Aug 11, 2019 3:22 pm    Post subject: Re: Locking steering column questions Reply with quote

Emeraldlion wrote:
It was an option. From what I have gathered more of a non-us spec type thing. I am sure someone with more official answer will come along. My tourist visa 67 has it.


Even the 1965 111 1200 A ( former standard designation) and the 111 1200 "A" "Custom" models came with steering wheel locks as standard equipment. Plus the type 115 1200 "A".
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PostPosted: Sun Aug 11, 2019 5:14 pm    Post subject: Re: Locking steering column questions Reply with quote

KTPhil wrote:
From what I've seen non-scientific), they were common on European cars but rare for US-spec cars.

They were available as an option, if you ordered a car. But in the '60s, demand was so high you bought off the lot whatever they had, and almost none of them had the steering lock.


This was my thought too, with the added info that "Tourist Delivery" US-spec. cars often had them.

Buy a VW here in the USA, pick it up in Europe, drive it around for a while, then ship it home.

Of course the question would be why did Tourist cars get a steering lock?
Were Tourists a greater target for thieves?
Or was it simply an almost standard option in Europe?
I don't know for sure.
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Emeraldlion
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PostPosted: Sun Aug 11, 2019 5:15 pm    Post subject: Re: Locking steering column questions Reply with quote

Helfen wrote:
Emeraldlion wrote:
It was an option. From what I have gathered more of a non-us spec type thing. I am sure someone with more official answer will come along. My tourist visa 67 has it.


Even the 1965 111 1200 A ( former standard designation) and the 111 1200 "A" "Custom" models came with steering wheel locks as standard equipment. Plus the type 115 1200 "A".


Thank you for the correction helfin. I thought it was always an option not standard. Just wish I could find a cheap replacement for the small diameter ignition switch. Sad
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Helfen
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PostPosted: Sun Aug 11, 2019 6:12 pm    Post subject: Re: Locking steering column questions Reply with quote

EverettB wrote:

Buy a VW here in the USA, pick it up in Europe, drive it around for a while, then ship it home.

Of course the question would be why did Tourist cars get a steering lock?
Were Tourists a greater target for thieves?
Or was it simply an almost standard option in Europe?
I don't know for sure.


When I bought my 65 111 "A" sedan 1200 Custom in 1968 I asked that same question from the original owner. He said he wanted a bare bones car ( well, he didn't get the plain "A" sedan he got a 1200 Custom ) and that's the way they came.
Now I can understand the basic models getting it , but what about a deluxe 113?

I have a friend who lived in Hamburg who's father bought her a new 1967 113 beetle and had it shipped to Los Angeles while she went to UCLA. That 67 beetle was a 1300, had the old style front fenders with the old style headlamps and a 6 VOLT system with a steering wheel lock....She still has the car and lives on the Central Coast.

BTW the 65 111 "A" Sedan 1200 Custom was, besides Europe sold in Canada and the Canadian cars are different than my 65 1200 Custom. They are close to my car, however they do NOT have the steering wheel lock ( they do have the 56-59 deluxe steering wheel and steering column) they have seat tracks ( mine doesn't I have the stud in the floor and the clap and wing nut to hold the seats down ) they have the 40hp ( mine has the last 36 HP ) and the Canadian cars have the same tunnel type trans as a deluxe, where as my car even though it has the tunnel type trans I have a 4.43 ring and pinion where as all 40 hp cars have a 4.375.
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PostPosted: Sun Aug 11, 2019 7:22 pm    Post subject: Re: Locking steering column questions Reply with quote

I had heard that a locking ignition on European Beetles was common because at the time Europe was having a serious problem with car theft.
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PostPosted: Mon Aug 12, 2019 1:51 pm    Post subject: Re: Locking steering column questions Reply with quote

I've stated this elsewhere but cars sold in Germany had to have a steering lock beginning 1961. This was not a US requirement until 1968

It's illegal to leave your car unlocked in Germany...
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PostPosted: Mon Aug 12, 2019 2:23 pm    Post subject: Re: Locking steering column questions Reply with quote

I wondered if it was more of a legal thing in certain countries... so I googled and found:
- Sweden required them in May 1961
- Western Germany required them in July of the same year.
- The book "The VW Beetle: A Production History of the World's Most Famous Car, 1936-1967" lists July 1961 as the time the steering lock was introduced, and it doesn't mention it as an option:
https://books.google.com/books?id=Oo1S_GwV4JAC&...mp;f=false
- Another book, "Less Law, More Order: The Truth about Reducing Crime" says the same:
https://books.google.com/books?id=P6a90LVekSEC&...mp;f=false
- And another, "Third Party Policing," states the same:
https://books.google.com/books?id=Bm-ZIkR4O9sC&...mp;f=false

So the European models I have seen with the US-standard non-locking column/switch must have been destined for another country where those laws didn't apply, making them a minority, consistent with the kinds of numbers I have seen over the many years.

My brother's Euro '67 (a gray market car):
Image may have been reduced in size. Click image to view fullscreen.

The steering wheel covers the dash where the switch would have gone, but it was in fact plain and smooth, no hole, no cap. No 4-way flasher, either.
And my USA '67:
Image may have been reduced in size. Click image to view fullscreen.

Note I added a foglamp switch and also a lighter, and used an older window winder knob, and a Ghia electric fuel gauge, none of which was standard, so ignore those differences.
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PostPosted: Wed Aug 14, 2019 11:51 pm    Post subject: Re: Locking steering column questions Reply with quote

My 62 vert came with locking column
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PostPosted: Fri Aug 16, 2019 3:53 am    Post subject: Re: Locking steering column questions Reply with quote

One of my first cars was a 1964 Beetle that I bought used in Chicago in 1971. It had the steering lock and also the steel sliding sunroof.
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